Not long ago I came out to a select group of friends and family that i was identifying as transgender. I had debated and struggled with these feelings for years. Thanks to counseling and finding people and organizations that seem to share and empathize with my confusion about my questioning of gender, a belief that I have held since I was a child, I found relief and further compassion for myself.

As an educated adult I have used my skills, resources, and language to seek understanding about myself.

Last summer I strolled over to the Interfaith Pride Celebration at Santa Barbara’s Sunken Gardens. More than 20 faith groups were sponsoring the event. Speakers from various faiths presented how their traditions promote love and justice for all.

At a booth, I came a across a small child, not more than 4 years old, near a table with several families and children.

Are you transgender?” she asked.

Out of the mouths of babes,” was my first thought.

Ahhh yes. Yes I am,” I responded.

I am transgender, too,” she said matter of factly and skipped off to tug the dress of a woman, perhaps her mother, and pointing in my direction. The table was sponsored by Santa Barbara Transgender Advocacy Network, then a fairly new organization created to support the families of transgender youth.

It was a heart-full moment for me. My sense of perspective widened that day. Unlike an adult, a child barely fresh on the planet with limited language, skills, and resources had a distinct sense of her own identity.

In comparison my struggles seem miniscule. My many fears disappeared. Fears of being socially marginalized, at risk of losing my job and being alone, a stranger in a strange land, if you will, all but vanished.

It wasn’t long before I met many families of trans youth who were networking. Parents of transgender-identified youth had a chance to educate themselves during what for most is a confusing time.

Who will speak for them? Can we provide those skills and resources to our youth and families to empower them to lead authentic and productive lives? Look no further than

They are here to educate our community on best practices that support the well-being of trans-identified youth. They need your support.

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